Our Experience-Realtor and Broker License Defense
Elder & Good attorneys are experienced in defending licensed professionals before their state boards and licensing agencies, including the Kentucky Real Estate Commission. In order to provide realtors and brokers with the most formidable legal defense team possible, Elder & Good works with Lee Harris, former General Counsel for the Kentucky Real Estate Commission, to defend brokers and realtors before the KREC. During her eleven years at the Kentucky Real Estate Commission, Ms. Harris wrote many of the statutes and regulations governing realtors and brokers. In addition, she has participated in hundreds of mediations involving realtor or broker disciplinary cases, issued and reviewed thousands of investigative reports, conducted hundreds of applicant hearings and represented the KREC in disciplinary hearings involving realtors or brokers. Ms. Harris also worked on appeals to the state circuit courts, the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the Kentucky Supreme Court. Lee Harris serves as co-counsel when needed with Elder & Good attorneys to defend the licenses or realtors and brokers before the KREC and the Kentucky Association of Realtors. If you are a real estate agent or broker in Kentucky, Elder & Good attorneys and Lee Harris are prepared and uniquely qualified to defend your license during KREC investigations and formal disciplinary actions.
Elder & Good, PLLC, and Lee Harris are well equipped to provide effective license defense for realtors and brokers in Kentucky for any disciplinary issue or Commission complaint, including:
- Misrepresentation or failure to disclose known defects which substantially affect the value of property;
- Escrow account violations;
- Acting for more than one (1) party in a transaction without the knowledge of all parties for whom the realtor acts;
- Negotiating or attempting to negotiate the sale, exchange, lease, or rental of real property, or attempting to obtain a brokerage agreement with a consumer knowing that the consumer has a written outstanding contract granting exclusive agency with another real estate broker;
- Failing to account for or remit, within a reasonable time, any money belonging to others that comes into the licensee’s possession; and
- Conduct that constitutes improper, fraudulent, or dishonest dealing.
In addition, we are available to assist real estate sales associates and brokers with licensing and application issues. Some examples of licensing and application issues include:
- Assisting real estate agents and brokers obtain or renew a license despite a criminal conviction or prior board disciplinary action.
- Mediating disciplinary actions on behalf of realtors and brokers and negotiating settlement where appropriate.
- Assisting realtors and brokers obtain reinstatement of a license after suspension or revocation by the Kentucky Real Estate Commission or after allowing a license to lapse for a prolonged period of time.
- Assisting realtors and brokers obtain modifications of restrictions or limitations placed on their licenses or registrations by the Board as a result of disciplinary action.
- Assisting realtors and brokers in having negotiated settlements terminated.
Why Hire an Attorney
If you are under criminal investigation or charged with a crime, would you represent yourself? If you were the subject of a civil lawsuit, would you represent yourself? A prudent realtor or broker would retain an attorney with experience and expertise in those areas of law.
If your real estate sales associate or broker license were in jeopardy due to a Kentucky Real Estate Commission investigation, a Kentucky Association of Realtors complaint or a formal KREC disciplinary action, would you represent yourself?
- Do you have experience in dealing effectively with Commission investigators and Commission attorneys?
- Have you ever negotiated with a Commission attorney regarding an appropriate outcome of a grievance filed against you?
- Do you have experience in knowing a great resolution of a Commission investigation or action from a poor resolution?
- Are you familiar with the collateral consequences of certain Commission agreements, such the impact an agreement could have on your employment or an out of state license?
- Do you know the concrete and proactive steps you can take during a Commission investigation to avoid formal disciplinary action even if the Commission attorney can prove a violation?
- Do you have legal experience?
- Do you know what evidence and documents you are entitled to review relating to a Commission investigation or action?
- Do you know how to conduct a formal disciplinary hearing, what evidence is admissible in a hearing, or how to preserve certain errors for appeal to a court of law?
In short, Real Estate Commission investigations and formal Real Estate Commission disciplinary proceedings can be every bit as complex and adversarial as a criminal action or a civil lawsuit. If you are a real estate agent or broker under investigation by the Kentucky Real Estate Commission or subject to a Kentucky Association of Realtors complaint, it is imperative that you consult with a real estate professional license defense attorney immediately upon being contacted by a Commission representative.
Of course, the same holds true if you are contacted by law enforcement pertaining to a criminal investigation. There are instances in which a complaint filed with the KREC or the Kentucky Association of Realtors can also give rise to a criminal investigation, charge or indictment. In those instances, it is imperative to consult with attorneys experienced in handling criminal matters. Brian Good and Chad Elder are former Assistant Commonwealth Attorneys who prosecuted and tried felony cases in Circuit Court. Additionally, Mr. Good also was an Assistant County Attorney who prosecuted and tried misdemeanor cases in District Court.
You should never make any statements to a Commission investigator, law enforcement officer or other government agent without an attorney. We strongly advise you to respectfully decline a meeting, interview, or telephonic conversation or to provide a written response to an inquiry without retaining a lawyer. When you retain a real estate professional defense attorney, the Commission, law enforcement and government agents investigating you will be advised of your representation and prohibited from contacting and questioning you directly. Should you retain Elder & Good, PLLC to represent you, any questioning or exchange of information will go through us.
While it is tempting for a realtor or broker to believe that he or she can engage the Kentucky Real Estate Commission members in a friendly and professional dialogue to work out any concerns about his or her practice or conduct, the Commission simply does not operate in that manner. If an agent or broker attempts to contact a Board member directly about a pending investigation, the inquiry will be diverted to the legal and investigative departments. Moreover, the Kentucky Real Estate Commission may invite a realtor or broker to meet with the Commission’s Investigative Committee and Board attorney during an investigation to discuss the allegations. We do not recommend that real estate agents or brokers under investigation attend such a meeting, or have any contact with the Kentucky Real Estate Commission or the Kentucky Association of Realtors without legal counsel.
When you contact Elder & Good attorneys at the onset of an investigation, we are able guide and defend you through the entire disciplinary process. Along with Lee Harris, we can assist real estate professionals during board investigations in several ways. We deal directly with board attorneys and investigators, handling all correspondence and communication with them. We also obtain and evaluate the evidence against our clients, assess the strength and weakness of the evidence, collect important documents that may be vital to mounting a defense and, most importantly, attempt to ward off a formal disciplinary complaint by negotiating favorable resolutions during the investigative stage.
A case will be resolved during the investigative stage, or at any other stage, only if the realtor or broker believes it is in his or her best interest after a thorough vetting of the case. During the investigation, we weigh the evidence and explore every possible defense.
There are several advantages to resolving a case during the investigative stage before a formal disciplinary complaint is filed. First, demonstrated flaws in the allegations, certain defenses or mitigating circumstances can sometimes result in the complete dismissal of a grievance or informal action. Second, real estate professionals will expend less money on legal fees. Third, realtors and brokers can avoid the common costs of reimbursing the Commission for its costs of successfully prosecuting a case. Fourth, a speedy resolution can facilitate employment opportunities for brokers or agents who cannot obtain employment while under investigation or formal disciplinary complaint.
Of course, there are cases that simply cannot be resolved during the investigative stage. Moreover, in some instances, a realtor or broker who is the subject of a Kentucky Real Estate Commission investigation fails to retain an attorney until after a formal complaint and/or emergency restriction or suspension already had been filed against his or her realtor or broker license. Elder & Good, PLLC is experienced at joining a case at any stage.
However, in order to maximize the benefits of legal representation, you should contact a lawyer immediately upon learning that you are under investigation and especially before you make any statements — verbal or written — to commission investigators or law enforcement.
Elder & Good attorneys are prepared to defend your sales associate license or broker license. Contact us to learn more.